What Are Rainforests?
To put it simply a rainforest is an area of tall, mostly evergreen, trees that has a high amount of rainfall. Sounds like a forest in Scotland? But it also has to have a warm climate - hence the title Tropical Rainforest. They are found near the equator which means the weather will be much warmer.
Rainforests are very important for the well-being of our planet as they help to regulate our climate and they provide us with many everyday products.
Rainforests are made up of four layers and because each layer receives a different amount of sunlight and rainfall it means that different animals and plant species are found in each layer.
This is where the tallest trees are found and where the most sunlight is available. These trees can often be 200 feet tall and as much as 16 feet wide! You will discover eagles and monkeys and bats and butterflies at this level.
The canopy is the primary layer of the rainforest, and it forms a type of roof over the remaining two layers. The leaves of the trees here are often oval and come to a point. This layer has such a large amount of available food that it attracts lots of animals such as snakes and toucans, and treefrogs!
There is not much sunshine getting to this level, so the plants have to grow their leaves larger to catch whatever rays manage to reach through. You will find lots of animals here such as jaguars and leopards and lots and lots of insects!
It is very dark here and there will not be very many plants growing. Leaves and other plant materials decompose very quickly here - much faster than in a normal climate. You will find giant anteaters here! Head over to the recycle box and have a go at making your own rainforest layer. Use our worksheet to help you.
Rainforests of the World
Let's have a closer look at some of the rainforests around the world.
We are sure you have heard of the Amazon Rainforest, but there are others too. Remember it has to be warm and wet and close to the equator. Large areas of South America, Africa and Asia have tropical climates, and rainforests can be found in all of these places.
The worlds most interesting and largest rainforests are Amazon, in South America Daintree, on the northeast coast of Australia and the Congo Basin in Central Africa.